Keio University Spin-Off Forms Consortium to Develop New EV Prototype for Mass Market; Commercialization in 2013
|Sketches of SIM-Drive concepts. Click to enlarge.|
SIM-Drive Corp., a spin-off from Keio University (home of the Ellica, earlier post), announced that 34 companies and municipalities, including automakers Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Isuzu Motors Ltd., will form a consortium to develop a new electric car prototype, with mass-market sales being the end goal.
The consortium, which includes battery cell manufacturers, auto parts companies and trading firms, aims to develop and mass-produce electric cars using technology developed by SIM-Drive. The initial target is a range of 300 km (186 miles) achieved through an efficient use of wheel motors and reduced air resistance.
SIM-Drive says it has distinctive competence in two primary areas: first, the technology of in-wheel motors (Shimizu In-wheel Motor-Drive; Hiroshi Shimizu, who is President of SIM-Drive, and the Keio University Electric Vehicle Laboratory in Tokyo created the 8-wheeled Ellica) and second, the structure, strength and weight of the hollow floor, which contains the battery pack and power electronics.
|Sketches of SIM-Drive Platform for 2WD, 4WD and 8WD. Click to enlarge.|
The combination of the in-wheel motors (SIM-Drive) and component built-in frame results in an extremely simple body structure, enabling an expansive above-floor space and stable running, the company says.
The SIM-Drive platform can be used for two-wheel, four-wheel and eight-wheel drive vehicles, the company says.
SIM-Drive and the consortium is targeting 2011 for the development of the prototype, with commercialization to begin in 2013.
SIM-Drive does not intend to manufacture vehicles; rather, it will transfer developed technology, and know-how to collaborative research companies. SIM-Drive’s vision is to support the automobile industry by producing components and SIM-Drive platforms for electric cars.